Real Madrid are perhaps at the most difficult stage of their transition away from their golden generation, as they work out whether several veterans can still cut it, or if they must move on. That tends to centre more around the likes of Toni Kroos, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema, but increasingly Dani Carvajal’s place in the side has come into question.
Diario AS point out that of the 40 games Real Madrid have played this season, Carvajal has started just 23, despite only missing four through injury. In previous seasons, he had been hampered with injuries, but this campaign Carvajal has been below par too.
Apart from a brief spell at the start of the season, he has not been defensively solid, and has contributed little in attack. Yet to register a carry into the penalty box, according to Managing Madrid, he is also in the bottom 17% for progressive passes at his position.
Those other 17 games have seen Lucas Vazquez, Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez and Alvaro Odriozola feature. Looking at this season, Vazquez is the most natural option as Los Blancos prepare for a series of big games, but has always been a little below the level of consistency desired as a starter. It may be that Ancelotti opts for the reliable Nacho there against Liverpool and Barcelona, but that would require a more offensive left-back on the other side.
18-year-old Vinicius Tobias is also someone who has been talked about with enthusiasm, but with 0 minutes in the first team this season, it seems Carlo Ancelotti is not considering him in the short-term.
Looking ahead, Los Blancos must decide whether to activate his €18m release clause. Quick and much more offensive, Tobias also likes to run at defenders. Previously it has been reported that Carvajal, Vazquez and Tobias will be the options again this summer.
He could well be a long-term solution, but it appears that Real Madrid will have to work out whether Carvajal is to be a major part of their side this summer. At 31, he will still have two years remaining on his deal, but he looks a long way off the player who signed that contract.